Potomac Riverkeeper Network

Four local citizen conservation groups, including the Potomac Riverkeeper Network, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the agency’s repeated failure to address the Shenandoah River’s increasing problem with algae blooms and pollution.

The algae blooms, caused by agricultural runoff in the Shenandoah Valley, interfere with recreational uses of the river, such as swimming, kayaking and fishing. They also harm native grasses and affect aquatic ecosystems.

For years, Shenandoah Riverkeeper has been pressing Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality to designate the river as impaired because of the algae blooms. The lawsuit asks the court to order EPA to disapprove Virginia’s list of impaired streams, to identify the Shenandoah River as impaired by algae-fueling pollutants, and to establish the pollution caps needed to bring the river back into attainment with state water quality standards.